What 5 miles means to me
It’s Tuesday and I have yet to tell you guys about my run on Saturday. My only excuse is that I was still sorting out what I felt about it.
My group (all 600 of us) meet up in a high school thirty minutes away from my house, so it’s always an early Saturday morning for me. I was the most apprehensive about this run because I just wasn’t happy with my four mile run. I’m still not 100% and I don’t know when I’ll be back to 100%. So when my coach announced that we were divided into three groups (fast 4 min running/1 min walking, medium 4 min running/1 min walking, slow 3 min running/1 min walking), I was tempted to run with the slow group. That was me using my negativity against myself, so I picked the medium group.
We started off and breaking what is traditionally done in that group, I put in my headphones. Yes, I should want to chat with others. Yes, I should try to become more social, but I need to be real about this. When I run the actual race, I plan on having my headphones in and if possible, to use RunKeeper to live track it. If I don’t keep to that plan during my long runs, it’s not going to work as well for me when I do the race. So headphones went in for me and I got my 80s music and RunKeeper prompts.
I realized quickly that I was feeling good, but I was still cautious. I concentrated on putting one foot in front of the other and keeping my breathing calm. And then I heard some mumbling. I realized too late that the person next to me was talking to me. Well, there’s another person that has discovered just how socially awkward I am.
Our group was kept tightly together and then we had to go into a single file because we were actually PASSING people. I didn’t really concentrate on that fact until I realized who we were passing: It was the first pace group I had joined, the 13:00 pace group. Yes, we’d slow down during the walk and they’d pass us, but we kept making more and more gains on them during the run portion. We ended up getting to the first water stop at virtually the same time. Of course, we had to stop there for a bit, so we wouldn’t be on top of each other for the entire run, but it confirmed to me that I chose the better option by connecting with the run/walk group.
When we got to the halfway point, I realized I still had way more energy than I thought I would. We turned around and I ended up maneuvering myself to the front. This was probably a mistake. I put my head down and concentrated on myself again. I talked to my coach a bit and she said something about how I should probably run with the fast run/walk group next week. This gave me a boost and I concentrated doubly on the run. After a few minutes, I looked around and realized that I was by myself. I didn’t know what to do. Do I slow down or do I just keep on going?
I kept going. I could meet back up with them at the second water stop. The first thing my coach said to me was, “You are running really fast.” I was but I still felt good. I had decided to keep with my group, but once again, as soon as I put my head down and went, I was out in front of them. Towards the end the energy fizzled and I had to slow down to a walk for more of it than I would have liked. Still, I think this was the strongest run that I’ve put together yet.
What does this mean to me? It means that I can in fact do this. It means that I can probably do even better once I’m back up to full strength. It means that I’m moving closer to my goal of doing a complete run that will put me into the 12:30 group (heck, maybe even the 12:00 group). It means that I honestly can conquer anything I set my mind to.
In that spirit, I will share my real goal here. I want to run the half marathon in 2 hours and 30 minutes. I had been quiet about it because I had talked myself out of that being a possibility in my very first half marathon. I think it is though. I also want to get to a sub-30 5k this year. I don’t think that will be a goal I will hit before the last half of the year, but a girl can hope.
Last but not least, my next 5k will be February 27th and will be the Last Chance for Boston race. The goal will be the same as my previous goal: I want to get below 36. I don’t care if it’s 35:59. It just has to be below 36 to get a PR. Since this is a flat course, I feel good about this happening. Wish me luck!